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Vega Sri Shines Bright: How Mandeep Yechuri’s Marketing Strategies Catapulted the Business Rapidly Across India and the US

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Manideep Yechuri, the 31-year-old Managing Director of Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds, has built a fine jewellery brand in the space of a year-and-a-half on the back of aggressive marketing efforts and the USP of ‘design with a variety

Just like the cult ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’ line, I want Vega Sri to resonate in people’s minds as ‘Gold Matlab Vega Sri’ whenever they think of a jeweller,” declares Manideep Yechuri, a first-generation retail jeweller. The young entrepreneur’s belief that marketing investments bring good business, coupled with the brand’s USP of ‘design with variety’, has stood him in good stead – with one showroom in Hyderabad and another in Vijayawada, Vega Sri’s net worth today touches Rs 400 crore, and plans are afoot for aggressive expansion in India and the United States.

BORN INTO THE TRADE

At Vega Sri, every item sold is taken to the store’s mandir to be blessed before it is delivered to the customer. This is a bow to tradition even as the brand prides itself on its ‘modern’ tag, while competing with Andhra and Telangana’s old legacy jewellery businesses. Born into a family of wholesale B2B suppliers in the jewellery business in Vijayawada, Yechuri was always inspired by the trade.

Peacock Luxury Lounge
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He started as a software engineer with Hyderabad-based pharma retail chain MedPlus Health Services and helped the family jewellery business over the weekends. “I always kickstarted orders for my family and clientele, but I was passionate about starting something of my own,” says Yechuri, who decided to turn entrepreneur and launched the 3000 sq ft Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds retail store in Hyderabad with his partners, Naveen Kumar Vanama and Kalyan Kumar Golla, in October 2021. The 20,000 sq ft store at Vijayawada, spread across five floors, followed six months later.

Lotus Luxury Lounge

BUILDING THE BRAND

The market for precious jewellery is traditionally based on trust built over generations, and at first, Yechuri did have apprehensions about how the market would respond to a new brand. “Once we started the first store, we offered the best designs and top customer service to ensure customers were treated like family, and we came across like their family jewellers.

“Once we started the first store, we offered the best designs and top customer service to ensure customers were treated like family, and we came across like their family jewellers. Over a year-and-a-half, we have become a household name”

Manideep Yechuri, Managing Director of Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds

Over a year-and-a-half, we have become a household name. Every client sends us their references and spreads the word about us. We are becoming more and more known to customers,” says Yechuri. In all this, he gives his partners equal credit, calling Vanama “an inspiration and a big brother” and Golla “a great support as a business partner in the Hyderabad store”.

Vega Sri’s plush 7500 sp ft ‘Luxe Lounge’ meant for its top customers

Meanwhile, the team includes experienced business and marketing professionals who work to uplift and strategize the brand’s customer service, sales and seasonal promotions.

WORKING ON ITS USP

Strong on store design, Vega Sri recently inaugurated its plush 7500 sq ft ‘Luxe Lounge’ meant for its top customers. The retail space is an extension of the brand’s existing outlet in Hyderabad. Within it are three theme-based private lounges – Lotus, Peacock and Rose – for VVIP clients and other select customers who want a personal shopping experience.

The approach is to give additional privileges to customers valued by the brand. A six-member team is deputed to look after each client, which puts to use the brand’s other USP – design with an abundance of variety – and shows a whole lot of designs to each customer, who can then choose.

Rose Luxury Lounge

Customers at the lounges are also pampered with starters and other vegetarian food cooked in a kitchen at the back of the store. The full menu has 12 starters, eight main courses and desserts, and all customers at the store between 12 noon and 3 pm are invited to have lunch. Yechuri says 80+ customers and 150 staffers have lunch daily in three special dining rooms meant for customers at the Hyderabad store. The count is higher at Vijayawada, where the same practice is followed.

MARKETING MANTRA

Vega Sri pumps most of its profits into offline and digital marketing. “We advertise at airports, on digital screens in gated housing societies and elsewhere; we have YouTube and social media marketing, plus paid collaborations with influencers – you name the platform, and we are on it. In just one year, we have made our brand stand out,” claims Yechuri. As hoardings are banned in Hyderabad, the 3,000 metro pillars are used for advertising, of which Vega Sri has taken up 1,000 – according to Yechuri, “not even an election campaign is as aggressive”! The brand is also influential on social media, using high-quality models and photo shoots to appeal to customers.

“We are on every possible advertising platform – airports, digital screens, gated societies and social media. As hoardings are banned in Hyderabad, its 3,000 metro pillars are used for advertising, of which we have taken up 1,000. Not even an election campaign is as aggressive!”

Manideep Yechuri, Managing Director of Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds

“Marketing brings footfalls. Once a customer walks into our store, it is our kind of client servicing through which we can convert it into a sale,” a confident Yechuri says.

Brand ambassador Nandamuri Balakrishna, son of iconic NT Rama Rao, ties in with the brand’s aim of broadening its reach globally

IN TANDEM WITH BRIDAL TRENDS

With a sharp focus on the bridal market, Yechuri tracks the trends in this segment. Aware that the new generation is not necessarily shopping from the same jeweller as her mother did, Yechuri strives to ensure that Vega Sri is in the consideration set. “If a customer goes to five different stores, Vega Sri must be one among them. That way, I compete with jewellers with a 120-150-year-old legacy in Hyderabad,” he says. The ticket size of jewellery at Vega Sri starts from Rs 5 lakh and goes up to Rs 5 crore for regular and bridal jewellery, its speciality. As a brand, it aims to reach every South Indian household and cater to jewellery purchases for all their bridal functions and celebratory occasions.

“We want the brand to be recognized as the best bridal brand across South India. Plans are under way to open several regional boutique stores alongside amplified promotions. If a customer goes to five different stores, Vega Sri must be one among them”

Manideep Yechuri, Managing Director of Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds

OFF TO NEW HORIZONS

Until now, the brand’s focus on digital platforms was limited to marketing. It has just started selling online. Its digital store offers free shipping worldwide. “Client service teams work in shifts from 4.30 am to attend to clients in other time zones – mostly the United States – over live video. Clients can schedule appointments and have one-to-one interaction with a member of our team,” says Yechuri, adding that he plans to open a Vega Sri branch in the US, which has a sizeable Telugu population. In fact, Vega Sri is sponsoring the largest Telugu gathering in the US, courtesy the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), to cater to this clientele in July this year.

Written by Srabana Lahiri
The Retail Jeweller India Magazine

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